Monday, February 8, 2010

Initial Impressions: Metal Church: Metal Church

When I was just getting into metal and looking for Metallica albums, I often saw Metal Church albums right around the same area. I often wondered what the band sounded like, because they were on the same label as Metallica Elektra, and had a somewhat similar name, in that both bands have "metal" in their name. Lars Ulrich even tried out for the band on drums at one point and was instrumental in getting them signed to their label. Nevertheless, it would be years before I actually picked up an album by the band. I don't really have an explanation, that's just how it worked out.

Despite their association, Metal Church is not terribly similar to Metallica musically. Metal Church was an early band considered thrash metal, but their style was more closely related to 1980's American power metal or traditional metal than thrash metal. They were heavily influenced by the NWOBHM, but not as much by punk, and they did not play nearly as fast as other early thrash metal acts like Metallica, Slayer, and Overkill.

This is the band's self-titled debut album. It features the sound that the band would become known for. It is melodic and heavy, but not nearly as harsh as other thrash metal acts of the time. The music is mid-paced, but lively. The riffs are memorable and catchy. There are frequent guitar solos. The vocals are typically delivered in a harsher raspy singing voice similar to NWOBHM acts.

This is a classic metal album and it's not hard to see why. The songs are very well-written and infectious. All of the individual musicians are extremely competent. Metal Church's career lasted approximately 25 years and though they never had much mainstream success, they were a beloved band in the metal underground.

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